It was wonderful seeing so many people posting about R U Ok? day last week! I took the opportunity to submit a question to Gen Kelsang Dornying (Kadampa Buddhist Monk) about it over the weekend when I visited the Temple for a day event called ‘Is this really as good as it gets?’ This lead to an answer that introduced the three pillars of Buddhism.
Here’s what I asked him:
‘As you may know, it was R U OK? day during the week. It was fantastic to see so many people on my Facebook news feed posting about it. I feel as though the western world is starting to evolve. However, earlier you mentioned that we tend to deal with symptoms rather than causes, and it seems to me that we have a tendency to do this in regards to mental health. What do you think we should do both individually and collectively to dramatically reduce the suicide rate in the western world and in particular, Australia?’
Three Pillars Of Buddhism
His answer, to paraphrase was along the lines of: ‘This basically sums up our mission, to cut to the core, through our emotions and conceptual mind to our root mind and to understand who we truly are’ and that ‘We have the opportunity to learn these teachings and to pass them on to help others.’
To give this more context of what he was referring to – and I know I won’t do it justice – I want to share with you what I think are the 3 main pillars that I have learned from Gen Dornying as well as from many other Monks, Nuns and teachers of Kadampa Buddhism. These pillars have really helped me with my own internal challenges:
Everything that has ever happened to me has lead me to where I am right now, and I’m okay with that. When we accept how it is right now, we can then plan our next move with no emotion clouding our judgement. We can relax in knowing that this is how it is. It’s important to remember that whatever we do, it will ultimately have unwanted side affects, which we must accept to allow ourselves to move onto creating the best solution for the next steps. Spending energy on wishing for something that can’t be changed to be different has only ever created problems and resentment
Understanding that no external object is a true source of happiness. If my wishes are being fulfilled and I have a peaceful mind, then I am happy; if my wishes are being fulfilled but I have an un-peaceful mind, then I am unhappy; therefore whether or not my wishes are being fulfilled has nothing to do with my happiness. If we are not attached to external things, we feel no less for not having them or losing them, as we realise that they truly make no difference to our internal happiness, only when we let them make a difference do we cause ourselves to suffer
3. Cherishing Others
When we focus on the happiness of others, we are acting virtuously. When we focus on the happiness of others, we take all pressure off of worrying about ourselves. It is understanding that they are ‘self’ and that I am ‘other’. By cherishing others, we don’t feel the need to get angry at them, understanding that they’re just trying their best. ‘Like we wouldn’t judge a person for their injuries or a victim of a crime, we shouldn’t judge a person for the delusions of their mind’
These are not expected to be able to be followed perfectly immediately and I’d be kidding myself if I thought I could follow these three pillars of Buddhism all the time – but it has made an enormous difference consistently working on these concepts. The nearly 600 days of meditation has really helped the process I might add.
I was talking to my doctor a while back, who is an older Sri Lankan woman and coincidentally Buddhist, about mental health and she said, to paraphrase ‘We don’t have mental health problems in my country, we meditate from a very young age and we don’t have these kinds of problems’.
Everyone is fighting his or her own fight and I’m not here to claim anything other than I am here to chat if you need it, and I’m certainly not saying that Buddhism is the only way. Every person is on his or her own individual journey and this is why I started the MindAim Academy. I wanted to do something about mental health and address why so many people feel stuck in their own lives and not near as happy as they could be. So I created a platform offering a plethora of experts from psychologists to spiritual leaders and everything in between teaching us their secrets to health, happiness and success so that anyone willing to learn can experience a range of different experts at our events and weekly online training – all for free – and gravitate to who resonated with them the most so that they can potentially find or realise what they’re looking for.
I just want to help and I’m just a message away
Authors Details: Wes Pettit
The MindAim Academy hosts expert coaching sessions every Tuesday evening. CLICK HERE to access these sessions now https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindaimacademy/